Who Stops Faster ? A Car or a Motorcycle ?

Who Stops Faster ? A Car or a Motorcycle ?

Posted by Mike Werner on Apr 11th 2016

This is one of those questions that is frequently raised in motorcycle discussion forums, together with questions like “is black a faster color for motorcycles?” or “should I clean my bike with a pressure system?”.

The answer to the question is 9374. In other words, it’s not a straight answer. There are lot of factors in play, but in general, motorcycles stop faster than cars. But…. Yes there is a big but…

A motorcycle is much lighter than a car, so in principle should stop faster, the same way an 18-wheeler truck will stop much slower than a car. But not all cars are created equal. Do you think a Toyota Prius will stop in the same distance as a Ferrari LaFerrari? But they are both cars, so using the principle, they should. But we all know the answer to that one.

Motorcycles, even the cheaper ones, are usually better equipped than cars in terms of tires, brakes and suspension. Riding next to a soccer-mom-driven-SUV on your cheap Chinese knockoff bike, you will probably stop much quicker (and we’re not even talking about reaction times and focus).


But ride alongside a Ford Mustang with big fat tires, ABS braking, you’ll see that the sportscar stops faster.

And that is because the car has 4 tires, so twice as much friction surface than your motorcycle. Couple that with good tires and brakes, even a great sportsbike will have problems stopping earlier, and all that while trying to keep the bike upright and from flipping over.

So it all boils down to several factors that you need to take into account when a car is tailgating you. Is it a good quality car, a sportscar, is it light, does it have good tires, etc? In fact, far too many factors to take into account while riding, so your best bet is to assume that the car will stop faster than you and therefore you should get out of the way.

Of course slamming into a car that is stopping in front of you will mean that you will have stopped faster, but too late.

Sorry I couldn’t give you a definitive answer…